Well, my friends, I have survived two more days of developmental writing. What's more, so have most of my students.
On Wednesday, I entered the class, sat down with them, and had a talk. I told them that I knew that none of them had voluntarily chosen to take developmental writing. And, I said that this was my only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday course, so I drive across town at six-thirty in the morning just to see them. "So," I said, "Let's try to have some fun in this class. Let's try to enjoy the process." I asked if any of them had any ideas for making the class more enjoyable.
Then we listened to David Sedaris reading an essay about when he was an elf at Macy's.
Silence. No smiles.
So, I had them write. First they did some freewriting. Then I asked them to write about a time when they had a conflict with someone. I had them read this to the person sitting next to them. Then I had them write about the same conflict from the point of view of the other person. Then I had a couple of people read their writing. It was okay.
This morning, I talked for a couple of minutes about why I think writing is so important. I then showed them a film with speeches by Sojourner Truth, John Ball, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
I did hand out some journals, per Kim's advice. We didn't have time to write today, but I told them that they should expect to write in the journal every day and to turn it in every once in awhile for my comments.
The attitudes seem a little more open, though my young woman did spend the last five minutes of class loading her backpack.
Thanks for all the wonderful hints and ideas. I'll continue to fight the good fight and to update you on our progress.